Judge rejects U.S. demand to exclude AT&T argument in Time Warner merger trialAT&T Inc can cite a voluntary commitment not to withhold content in licensing talks as a key part of its defense when an antitrust trial begins next week over the fate of the company’s planned $85 billion merger with Time Warner Inc , U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said on Tuesday. The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in November to stop AT&T, which owns DirecTV and other products with 25 million subscribers, from buying movie and TV show maker Time Warner, which owns HBO and CNN, among many other channels. AT&T contends that analysis is fatally flawed because it does not include its commitment for seven years to agree to binding arbitration over disputes with distributors like DISH Network Corp or Comcast Corp over licensing terms.


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